FERC Accepts Puget Sound Energy’s EIM Filing and Authorizes Market-Based Rate Transaction Ability.

On September 30, 2016, FERC accepted the change in status filing submitted by Puget Sound Energy, Inc. (“Puget”) and certain affiliated generators. The filing informed FERC of the companies’ intent to join the Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) administered by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) beginning on October 1, 2016.  As discussed in a previous WER article, in August 2016, FERC approved a similar filing and anticipated EIM start-date from Arizona Public Service Company (“APS”).  With this order, Puget and APS become the fifth and sixth balancing authority areas to join the EIM, following PacifiCorp East and PacifiCorp West in 2014, and Nevada Power Company, Sierra Pacific Power in 2015.  Idaho Power plans to become the seventh balancing authority area in 2018.  (see April 13, 2016 edition of the WER).

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FERC Reaffirms MISO’s Treatment of QFs in Entergy’s Service Territory

On September 22, FERC denied a request to rehear an April 21, 2016 order involving a complaint from the Occidental Chemical Corporation (“Occidental”) against the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc.  (“MISO”).  In so doing, FERC reaffirmed its April 21 Order and further explained its previous finding that MISO’s treatment of qualifying facilities (“QFs”) within the Entergy service territory neither violates the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) nor the Federal Power Act (“FPA”). Continue reading

Seattle Substation Project to Merge Infrastructure and Architecture in a Unique Urban Setting

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Construction has commenced on Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation — a new electrical infrastructure project planned for the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Not only will the project help address the growing electricity demand for Seattle’s tech, biomedical, and non-profit sectors, but it also aims to meld functionality with industrial design and landscape architecture to form a distinctive public meeting space. As reported in Slate this week, the substation will include a public park, off-leash dog area, as well as art installations and a plaza for entertainment and food carts. There will also be an elevated walkway to allow onlookers to check out the facility and learn more about how the primarily clean electricity coming from the substation (89% hydro, and 3% wind-power) is distributed throughout the city.

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As acknowledged by the substation’s design company, NBBJ, electricity system infrastructure is not typically designed to be anything other than “glum, concrete facilities filled with wires and electrical equipment relegated to obscure desolate stretches of cityscapes.” Thus, the notion that such a project could not only be visually appealing but also an urban hot spot makes this a unique endeavor.

The substation, slated for completion in 2018, also comes at a pivotal time for the country’s electricity infrastructure. Much of the grid is aging and in need of repair and replacement–as starkly illustrated by the  “D+” grade that our energy infrastructure most recently earned from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Although many policymakers, regulators, and stakeholders, are looking at non-wires solutions to avoid shelling out the billions necessary to address this problem, the Denny Substation could help make such projects, when necessary to build, easier to promote…and a lot more fun to visit.

(These pictures, along with others, can be found on the design company’s website, linked-to above).

FERC Questions PJM Transmission Owners’ Compliance with Order No. 890

On August 26, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) established a proceeding to determine whether transmission owners in the footprint of the PJM Interconnection L.L.C. (“PJM”) are complying with the requirements of Order No. 890.  This proceeding follows a November 2015 technical conference in which several PJM transmission customers and other parties suggested that stakeholders are unable to meaningfully participate in the transmission planning process for certain PJM projects.  Continue reading

FERC Accepts ISO-NE’s Ten-Percent Threshold for Mitigating Generator Retirement Bids

On July 27, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) accepted a compliance filing from ISO New England (“ISO-NE”) that establishes a ten-percent materiality threshold before ISO-NE will mitigate a retirement bid in its annual Forward Capacity Auction (“FCA”). As first discussed in a previous Washington Energy Report blog post, on April 12 2016 FERC largely accepted ISO-NE’s proposed revisions to its Transmission, Markets, and Services Tariff (Tariff), but instructed the ISO to make certain corrections, which were addressed in this compliance filing. Continue reading

FERC Amends the pro forma SGIA to Require Frequency and Voltage Ride-Through Capability

On July 21, 2016, FERC issued a final rule modifying the pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (“SGIA”) to require newly interconnecting small generators to “ride-through” voltage and frequency disturbances rather than disconnect from the larger transmission system. With this final rule, FERC obligates new small generators—those less than 20 MW—to have comparable ride-through capabilities as those imposed on large-scale counterparts through the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (“LGIA”).

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GW Law Journal of Energy & Environmental Law Publishes Article by Adrienne Thompson on Nuclear Energy Industry

The George Washington University Law School Journal of Energy & Environmental Law has published an article by Adrienne Thompson on the nuclear energy industry. The full article, “Short and Long-Term Solutions for Struggling Commercial Nuclear Energy Generators in Restructured Wholesale Markets,” is available to read online here.

FERC Lifts Restriction on MISO Export Pricing to PJM for Multi-Value Projects

On July 13, 2016, FERC issued an order partially lifting a long-standing pricing limitation for energy exports from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) to the PJM Interconnection, LLC (“PJM”) in relation to Multi-Value Projects (“MVPs”). The order—released in response to a remand from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals”)—resolves a multi-year-long process and debate over how to allocate costs for MISO transmission projects that benefit customers inside of the PJM region. Continue reading

DC Circuit Affirms FERC Order Finding that Mobile-Sierra Does Not Prevent Order No. 1000’s Elimination of Rights of First Refusal

On July 1, 2016 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a petition to review two FERC orders determining that the so-called “Mobile-Sierra” presumption does not preserve “right of first refusal” provisions that are otherwise required to be removed from tariffs and agreements following Order 1000. Although the D.C. Circuit did not hold that the presumption could be generally applied to contract provisions other than rates, the court agreed with FERC that “the doctrine does not extend to anti-competitive measures that were not arrived at through arms-length bargaining.”

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Silver Bellwether: The Effect of Nevada’s Recent Net Metering Reforms In and Outside the State

It was not that long ago that states were competing to win the roof-top solar race. Now, as evidenced by, among other examples, Wisconsin’s recently-approved net energy metering (NEM) fixed-charge increase and Hawaii’s shift toward post-net metering rate structures, it seems like many states are pulling back on the reins. Few states have pulled back harder on net metering than Nevada, where a set of recent orders has disrupted the state’s residential solar industry to a far greater extent than any other.

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